Voluntary and Community Sector Grants Programme 2019/20
The proposed trial changes to the Voluntary and Community Sector Grants Programme in 2019/20 were discussed in detail. During the debate around this item the following matters were raised for consideration:
· The arrangements for the current grants process, the role of the cross-party Grants Panel and the length of time that these arrangements had been in place.
· The efficiency of professional bid writers who were in a strong position to secure grant funding for their groups.
· The availability of support from the Council’s Grants Officer who could help smaller groups which lacked that expertise.
· The need for the Council to have a transparent process in place whereby funding would be provided to local Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups.
· The potential for more Members than at present to get involved in providing funding to VCS groups during the trial.
· The impact that the proposed trial arrangements would have on the distribution of grant funding across the Borough.
· The risk that some groups might apply for funding from a number of Councillors and the important role of Officers in monitoring such activities.
· The administrative implications of the trial and how these compared to the Council’s existing grants programme.
· The reduction of £20,000 overall in funding for the grants programme that would arise should the trial be agreed.
· The different number of VCS groups in each ward and the extent to which Members could provide funding for appropriate causes.
· The consultation that had been undertaken prior to proposing the scheme and whether further consultation was needed.
· The potential for Councillors to pool resources to support initiatives.
· The need for Members to be provided with training before grants were approved for VCS groups.
Shareholders’ Committee – Local Authority Trading Company
Members noted that the Shareholders’ Committee would be a cross-party group responsible for many of the governance arrangements in relation to Rubicon Leisure Limited.
Council Housing Growth Programme – Proposed Development Sites
The proposal to develop particular sites as part of the Council’s Housing Growth Programme was discussed in detail. During the debate the following points were considered:
· The plans detailed in the report to develop 67 properties on the proposed development sites.
· The size of the Council’s housing stock. Members noted that the Council had 5,800 properties.
· The demand for social housing within Redditch and the need to expand the Council housing stock in order to meet this demand.
· The 41 properties added to the Council’s housing stock between May 2012 and May 2018, which had been obtained through a variety of means including buying back properties and the mortgage rescue scheme.
· The sale of Council Houses under right to buy and the need to use the finances generated from these sales within particular timeframes to fund the provision of replacement properties.
· The need for the Council to improve turnaround on void properties in order to make houses available to those in need.
the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 23rd October 2018 be received and all recommendations adopted.